The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.
Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting after the team’s victory over Minnesota on Saturday night. Non-players were asked to leave the locker room, a source told Michael C. Wright.
The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times. Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide that has created significant tension between Leonard and the Spurs. Outside the Spurs locker room, players’ voices could be heard through the door, sources said.
Leonard remained resolute in his response, insisting that he has good reason to continue sitting out because he still isn’t fully healthy, sources said. Leonard told his teammates that he planned to return once he felt able to do so, sources said.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Antetokounmpo’s Late Tip-in Wins Game for Bucks to Even Series
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points in Sunday’s Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics, but it was his offensive rebound and tip-in off a Malcolm Brogdon miss that gave the Bucks a lead with 5.1 seconds left, and ultimately a 104-102 win.
“At the end of the day in the playoffs, we know we have the best player on the floor,” Brogdon said of Antetokounmpo. “So we rely on him, and he comes through.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
John Wall Helps Wizards Even Series After Beal Fouls Out Late
An infuriated Bradley Beal held his head in disgust and was literally hopping mad at officials who called his sixth and final foul with 4:58 remaining in Game 4 after Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan ran into him chasing down an offensive rebound.
With the game and potentially their season hanging in the balance, the Washington Wizards managed to overcome the loss of their leading scorer and what they believed were “soft calls” by the officiating crew to even their best-of-seven series with a 106-98 win over the Raptors. Washington finished the game with a 14-6 John Wall-fueled run to win extend its postseason home winning streak to eight.
Source: Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN
Spurs’ Parker, Ginobili Make Playoff History with Win Over GSW
Before the start of the NBA playoffs, no other player age 40 or older had scored double figures off the bench in a postseason game. Manu Ginobili has now done that twice, and has earned win No. 132, giving him and Tony Parker the most playoff wins together of any teammates in NBA history.
“Of course, the feeling of the last quarter was great because we were all doing good,” Ginobili said after scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting to help San Antonio defeat the Warriors 103-90 and force Game 5 on Tuesday in Oakland, California.
Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN